Edinburgh International Festival Musical Review: Niteworks – Comann

A festive performance to close the Edinburgh International Festival Leith Theater Series by Niteworks. IPC: Andrew Perry.

It’s become a tradition of the Edinburgh International Festival that the final show of their series of live concerts at the Leith Theater feels like a wrap-up party – and if it has a Scottish flavor, so much the better. Alan Cumming didn’t seem available for a DJ set this year, but Gaelic techno adventurers Niteworks have dreamed up their own lively Sunday night set to bid farewell to the 2022 Festival.

‘Comann’ is the Scottish Gaelic word for a society or club, but it also means ‘community’, and this special show by the young quartet from the Isle of Skye brought together a number of their young musical contemporaries Scottish Celtic. stage. Where Celtic rock and Gaelic song are more often associated with big names like Runrig or Capercaillie, or mannered ballads like Julie Fowlis, Niteworks plays the kind of murky but energetic techno you might hear at the Sub Club on Saturday nights. .

Against a backdrop of strobe lights, electronic programming from Innes Strachan and Allan MacDonald was mixed with the live sound of Ruairidh Graham’s drums. On some songs, Christopher Nicolson’s bass guitar was cranked up loudly as the lead instrument, adding an LCD Soundsystem-like analog touch, particularly to their cover of Simple Minds’ Theme for Great Cities. MacDonald’s sporadic bagpipes were also integral, providing the most unexpected rave tone to Guns of Ajaccio and Sub Disco.

Three string players from the Kinnaris Quintet were on stage throughout, adding folk textures that at one point turned into sharp, upbeat disco strings, and there were vocal appearances from vocalist Beth Malcolm and the all-female trio Sian. The latter added bouncy pop textures to songs, including their past collaboration with Niteworks, Air Fàir an Là, while Malcolm’s vocals carried more of a ballad texture against John Riley’s trance groove. Their show was the perfect way to reunite and say goodbye to the Festival for now.

Darcy J. Skinner